Destin's Johnny O'Quigley's has been reborn, owner Charles Gleason says.
"We've gone through a full-blown menu change," he told The Log. "People come to Destin for the beach and seafood, so now we are giving them what they want."
Gleason, a 40-year restaurant veteran, purchased the Irish sports bar a year-and-a-half ago from the original owner. Since last fall he has been contemplating a change, and used the busy football season to test new menu items with the hungry crowds.
And after "months and months" of planning, menu revisions and perfecting recipes, Gleason and General Manager Dave Harris are proud to introduce O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer & Oyster Sports Bar.
"Sixty percent of the menu is new," Harris told The Log.
The new menu features fresh blue crabs "cooked the old fashioned way" and served whole, snow crab, king crab mussels, shrimp, soft shell crab, and jumbo seared scallops. If oysters are more your flavor, there are plenty of options, whether it's the fresh oysters on the half shell, oysters Rockefeller or the oysters Destin, which are topped with olive oil, jalapeno peppers, cheddar cheese, panko bread crumbs, garlic, red bell peppers and parmesan cheese.
"The people who have purchased our crab so far have been blown away," Gleason said.
Although the menu has gone through a complete overhaul, long-time O'Quigley's fans shouldn't fret. There is still plenty of the O'Quigley's favorites on the menu.
"We kept the best of the best," Harris said of the old menu, which includes their famed burgers, wings, Daddy's Very Nasty Nachos, and the Spuds O'Quigley.
For the lighter or healthier eater, both Gleason and Harris couldn't say enough about the Sandestin Salad. Toss together fresh spinach and artisan lettuces, add Mandarin oranges, fresh blueberries, dried cranberries, toasted almond slivers and serve with scratch-made key lime vinaigrette and your taste buds will thank you.
"People don't want just meat and potatoes anymore," Gleason said.
O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer & Oyster Sports Bar is open from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., seven days a week. In addition to the restaurant, there is also the Back Door Bar, which opens at 9 p.m. and caters to service industry employees.
Gleason said they also have a party room that can seat up to 80 people, and his kitchen staff can prepare any number of menu options for corporate or holiday parties and celebrations.
O'Quigley's also provides full catering services, has an outdoor patio and offers a 15 percent discount to the men and women of the armed forces. The patio is also pet friendly, so don't hesitate to bring along your four-legged friend.
The game room, which features air hockey, shuffleboard and Golden Tee Golf, is also a great place to spend a rainy day, Harris said.
For more information about O'Quigley's Seafood Steamer call 837-1015, visit www.oquigleysseafoodsteamer.com or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/oquigleysseafoodsteamer.
With the new menu in place, Gleason and Harris said they are ready to showcase the freshest, highest quality seafood in a sports bar that is second to none.
"We believe wholeheartedly that this was the right move — not just for us, but for our customers as well," Harris said. "This is the best move we could have made."
"This is a rebirth, so let's take Destin by storm," Gleason said. "We're a local establishment that serves great, fresh food in a great environment."